Wedding Gifts - How Much To Spend?
The age-old question once you receive a wedding invitation is, “How much should I spend?” You’re not alone if you’re asking yourself this very important question. There are no rules it seems, so it’s hard to know these days if you are going to show up with a gift that looks cheap. There are some things you can consider so you will feel more comfortable with your selection.
Choosing a Wedding Gift
First, remember that you are giving a wedding gift. It’s not a mandatory fee to get you into the wedding. Give what you are comfortable giving. If you are on a tight budget, chances are the couple, if they are your friends, know your situation and wouldn’t want you to stretch yourself beyond your means.
Consider how you know the couple. Are you in the intimate immediate family? Then, of course, you’d want to give your sister a more expensive gift than someone you know from yoga class. Especially if you have more than one wedding coming up within a year, you’ll want to budget so you can get each couple a nice gift.
One way that you can judge what to spend is by asking others. Are both you and your friend Carol friends of the bride’s from college? Email her and ask her how much she’s planning on spending.
If you’re still uncertain, don’t give cash. Give a gift instead so that it’s not as obvious exactly what you spent. Check the bridal registry and then shop around for the same thing elsewhere. Seasonal sales pop up where you can find the same blender for half the price. When you give it, the bride will have no idea that you paid 50% less. Outlets and other discount stores carry many name brands for less money. Shop those stores and pick up a great bargain for a fraction of the amount. Wrap it nicely and no one will ever think it’s a discount gift. Just be sure to check that all packaging is perfect and not dented or scratched.
If You Want to Give Cash
If you want to figure a dollar amount because you want to give cash, figure on $100 per person—but that’s if you know the couple very well. The rules used to be that you should plan to cover the cost of your meal. But how are you supposed to guess what the couple paid per plate for the dinner? Don’t bother trying to figure it out. If you are the groom’s old work colleague and you’re bringing a date, $100 is more than enough to cover you both. If you are close friends with one or both of the happy partners, give $100 for yourself and $100 for your date.
Remember, these are guidelines and not hard and fast rules. What you give is largely personal. Elder relatives may have more money and may want to give more. You may be just starting out and have a new mortgage and are unable to give as much as you’d like. Don’t ever let the wedding couple gift stop you from attending a wedding you really want to go to. The bride and groom will appreciate your presence at their big day no matter what you choose to spend. (And remember, even if you decline a wedding invitation, you’re still supposed to send a gift.)
Wedding Party Gift Ideas
It's a tradition that the Groom gives you a gift at some time during the rehearsal dinner. The thank you gift is for standing up with him at the wedding. Common gifts include money clips, wrist or pocket watches, fountain pens, tickets to a sporting event, lighters, key chains, cigar cutters, cigars, beer steins, or gift certificates to a sporting goods store or restaurant. It's nice when these gifts are engraved with the date of the wedding and your initials. The gift then becomes a nice memory of the event in later years. (The engraving also ensures that you'll keep it because it'll be harder to "re-gift" the next time you're in a jam. We'll get into that later.)
The Best Man or Groomsmen don't customarily give the Groom a gift at the rehearsal dinner. Your wedding gift is your gift to the happy couple. If the surveys are any indication, you probably spent more than you thought you would at the bachelor party, so there's no real need to add another gift to your list.
Wedding etiquette also offers a layaway plan. Etiquette dictates that you have up to one year from the date of the wedding to give your wedding gift without looking like a heel. Personally, the one-year rule never worked for me. I always ended up waiting nine months, and then I had no idea if I sent the couple anything. It's also embarrassing to have to ask the couple if you sent a gift because they probably don't know or care by that point. On one occasion, I mailed two or three wedding gifts at the same time after many months of torture, and within two weeks I learned that two out of three were delivered to old addresses and/ or lost by the post office. My advice is to bring it with you and drop it off at the wedding.
If you give cash as a wedding gift, I am truly proud of you. As a former Groom, there's nothing like it because you can do whatever you want with it-no strings attached and no waiting in line at the returns aisle.
Unfortunately, most people don't feel comfortable giving cash because, let's face it, if you want to spend less than $100 bucks, you can't really give cash. You have to get a gift that looks like it might be worth a hundred. You can also get them a few gifts so it'll definitely look like you went all out and hit the $100 mark.
If you're over seventy years old you may want to pull the U.S. Savings Bond scam. (Do senior citizens actually think anyone keeps the bond for the hundred years it takes to reach the face value?) If you ever get one of these, run down to your local bank, cash it, and go get yourself a new CD, or maybe two if you're lucky.
Wedding Anniversary Party Games
Kick Back & Have Fun
Every wedding anniversary is very special, but for those celebrating a milestone like your 25th wedding anniversary, you will probably be throwing a party for the couple of honor.
These parties have a lot to them. If you're in charge of the games and activities, and anniversary party favors here are some ideas to get you started.
Wedding Photo Guessing Game
It won't be so easy both for guests who have changed dramatically over the years (this is especially fun for 50th golden anniversary parties) and for those who don't know each other well. That's what makes the game fun. Provide an answer sheet along with photos of the couple as they are now.
You can have prizes available for the person who has the most correct. Make it even more special by going along with the theme and give out 50th wedding anniversary favors.
The Newlywed Game
Play a version of the Newlywed Game where couples sit on a panel and have to predict how their partner will answer questions. Comprise a panel with a mix of the couple of honor as well as younger and older married couples.
Guests will find it hilarious as spouses try to guess how their other half has responded to questions about how they met, favorite foods, places they've been, and other fun queries. Again, you can offer prizes for the winning couple.
Name that Tune
Everyone loves music. In reminiscence of that old TV game show "Name that Tune," have guests participate in your own version. Create a panel of contestants who will wager how many notes it will take to name the song that you'll play a piece of.
Have CDs on hand of music from the couple's wedding era as well as new and popular songs. Young and old will get involved in this game. You can offer musical themed prizes like CDs or gift certificates for music.
Create a wedding-themed scavenger hunt. Hide objects that relate to the anniversary couple's lives, likes and era. You can do a 1950s themed hunt if that's when they were married and include records, a poodle from a poodle skirt, bobby socks, saddle shoes, or even a personalized vintage pub sign. For a 1970s you could hide a pair of platform shoes, a disco ball, etc.
Create a list with pictures of what everyone will be looking for. You can raid thrift stores for inexpensive trinkets from the era. The more authentic and wacky, the more fun the hunt will be. Set a time limit and award prizes for the most items collected.
Offer everyone a strip of wide gold ribbon as they come into the party. Have permanent black markers available. Have each guest write down a memory they have of the couple.
During the party, have each guest say their memory aloud to the party and then place their ribbon on an ornamental tree in the center of the head table. The result will be a lovely memory tree filled with golden memories the couple can take home and read again and again.
Setting Up an Anniversary Party
Often at anniversary parties, there are many children and grandchildren present. You'll want to provide some games to keep them occupied. Enlist older siblings or cousins to monitor the games in a corner of the hall or at a special table in the restaurant.
Go all out with decorations and label it the "fun table" so kids will feel included. Have all sorts of board games, cards, trinkets, crayons, paper, etc. on hand so that children will be amused for the entire party.
You can plan to have the children make something for their grandparents or the special couple while at the table such as signature frames or a simple craft. Provide healthy treats for the children to snack on so you don't have to rush the meal.
- Wedding Gifts - How Much To Spend?
- Wedding Party Gift Ideas
- Wedding Anniversary Party Games